In the second year of the O’Leary Flag Football League, Jay Moderski Gateway Funding took home the championship against Ryan Dolan Gateway Funding, 3-2 in overtime.
Dave Sponburg caught a touchdown in the first half of overtime to give the Blue-clad winners the lead for good. Tim Gramlich caught a pass that appeared to be the equalizer and would have sent the game to a second overtime, but Gramlich was flagged for offensive pass interference, and Sean Wood’s pass fell short of his intended receiver on fourth down, giving JMGF the title.
Gramlich was dominant otherwise, scoring Dolan’s two touchdowns, the first a 50-yard catch and run and the second an 80-yard out rout that he took up the muddy sidelines to pay dirt. Gramlich’s touchdown in the first half tied up the game after Ryan Goessler caught a 15-yard pass to start the game’s scoring.
Regulation ended with one of the most exciting plays you’ll see in a flag football game. On fourth down from around the 25, and five seconds to play, De’Andre Hariot picked off a pass in the end zone and began to speed down the field for the walk-off interception return. Smartly, JMGF chose to take the penalty and tackle Hariot to the ground, instead of grabbing at his flag and possibly whiffing.
“I should have cut back!” Hariot said as he went to the sideline after the pick, thinking if he had it back his run he would have had more green in the middle of the field.
The Moderski Boys were 4-1 in the regular season, and won in the semifinals by a score of 4-3. One thing is for sure about this league, it isn’t your grandmother’s game of flag football. On just about every play, bodies hit the deck and there was still plenty of contact despite the lack of pads and tackling.
“You tell guys it’s flag football, and they aren’t that into it, but then they play one game and their sold,” Tony Montanez said. “ It gets real rough.”
Montanez has been integral is setting up the OFFL, which is a reboot of the old Roxborough Flag Football League that existed for many years recently. After adult flag football took two years off, the “younger” generation of Roxborough athletes-turned professionals wanted to get back on the gridiron, and Montanez started the O’Leary League, named after Mike O’Leary, an active player who played in the RFFL.
“He was always involved, always telling people the league, and loved the league,” Montanez said.
The OFFL will kick back off in September, but Montanez and his squad were not worried about that. They were headed to CJ and Ecks (a league sponsor) to celebrate like champions.